Who needs to run away to the circus I found my place in a puppet show

My father was a good man. He didn’t lay down the law when I was growing up, instead he led by example. He was gentle and considerate, I never heard him swear and he only shouted at me once – I deserved it. There is one piece of advice he gave me in my teensContinue reading “Who needs to run away to the circus I found my place in a puppet show”

No more paddling in the shallows as I dive headlong into union politics

There are many forms of addiction – drink, drugs, gambling and more. They nearly all start small but many lead to disaster. As one drink leads to another, as one pill ends with a needle in your arm, or a flutter on the Grand National reaches the point when you put all you have leftContinue reading “No more paddling in the shallows as I dive headlong into union politics”

Back to business but missing the camaraderie of union action

As I mentioned recently it was good to get back to work but I still missed the buzz that goes with proper union activity. I don’t mean going on strike. That is the ultimate weapon the worker has and, like a nuclear bomb, you know that if you utilise it then the ultimate effect couldContinue reading “Back to business but missing the camaraderie of union action”

Union bonds do not last forever, but I still had all the world as my stage

I must admit, the end of the Basildon lockout was a bit of an anti-climax. I had discovered more about the camaraderie of socialism and the true meaning of the brotherhood of the union (be fair, there were not many women in the trade union at that time) in those couple of weeks with theContinue reading “Union bonds do not last forever, but I still had all the world as my stage”

One man and his dog – but it’s the dog in charge of the show

When I was a trainee reporter – over 50 years ago – most of the stories I reported on were straightforward. A story could be a report on a court case; reports from a council meeting; sports reports; a theatre review; or one of many other events. In all these cases I went to court,Continue reading “One man and his dog – but it’s the dog in charge of the show”

One in the eye for the bosses when picketers produce a Royal edition

The weekend came and the weekend went. The journalists in Basildon were still locked out by the Westminster Press Group management. The printworkers were still refusing to return to work unless the lockout was ended and the journalists also allowed to return. On that Monday morning in November, with the wedding of Princess Anne andContinue reading “One in the eye for the bosses when picketers produce a Royal edition”

Natural suspicion takes a back seat when it comes to bosses v workers

In my early days as a journalist, especially when I worked at Holywell and used to go to the head office printing works with Peter Leaney, one particular point was always drummed into me: “Don’t upset the printworkers.” Once the stories for the newspaper had been sourced, written and subbed the journalists passed over controlContinue reading “Natural suspicion takes a back seat when it comes to bosses v workers”

Normal services interrupted as chapel members take a walk

Despite my search for real socialism and my fascination with the story of the labour movement, as opposed to the Labour Party, I did not find myself involved in any serious union activity until I moved down South. As I have said I joined the National Union of Journalists while working in North Wales. OtherContinue reading “Normal services interrupted as chapel members take a walk”

Lucifer and his little devils take a load off the editor’s shoulders

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was spelt E-D-I-T-O-R. Since the news sheets of the 17th century metamorphosed into the newspapers of the 19th and 20th centuries the editor, who might once have been reporter, typesetter and even printer all in one, grew to become the final arbiter regarding what appeared inContinue reading “Lucifer and his little devils take a load off the editor’s shoulders”

Springtime carries you forward – and promises a glorious summer

The Spring of 1973 was a glorious time. As far as I was concerned the sun shone every day; I was raking in the stories for the Standard Recorder; my circle of socialist-minded friends was widening; my social circle was a round of fun, parties and theatre; and I was getting to spend more andContinue reading “Springtime carries you forward – and promises a glorious summer”